MK Smotrich: If settlement bill doesn’t pass, no bill will pass

PM calls for "cool heads and patience" to strengthen security, settlements

January 23, 2017 20:15
2 minute read.
Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich

Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich. (photo credit: BAYIT YEHUDI)

Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich warned on Monday that the government would grind to a halt if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tries to prevent the passage of a bill to legalize outposts and settlements in the West Bank.

With the accession to the White House of President Donald Trump, Bayit Yehudi is now anxious to pass the legislation into law in order to retroactively legalize almost 4,000 settlement homes in Judea and Samaria built on private Palestinian land.

The prime minister himself said on Monday that patience was needed before implementing legislation or taking action that could have far-reaching consequences for the country.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Smotrich said that the bill would be brought to the Knesset plenum for its second and third readings at the beginning of February and that Bayit Yehudi would insist on coalition discipline for the vote.

“The whole coalition is obligated to vote for it, we are determined to pass this law, and it’s going to pass,” insisted Smotrich.

“If it gets stuck in violation of the coalition agreements, then we will hold up other laws, there won’t be votes on anything. I’m saying in no uncertain terms, if this bill doesn’t pass, no bill will pass.”

The MK declined to comment as to whether a clause of the bill, which would save the Amona outpost from impending evacuation and destruction, will be included in the bill.

However, senior sources in Bayit Yehudi indicated to the Post that the clause will not be included in the bill.

Earlier on Monday, party leader and Education Minister Naftali Bennett urged the prime minister to move forward on legislation to annex Ma’aleh Adumim. Bayit Yehudi has submitted legislation to the Knesset to annex the West Bank settlement as part of a broader plan to annex all Jewish settlements in the territory.

“The prime minister faces an historic decision: either [there will be] sovereignty, or there will be Palestine.

Either sovereignty or ISIS on Route 6,” declared Bennett.

“We call on Prime Minister Netanyahu: don’t miss this once in fifty years opportunity. This is the time to initiate and act.”

Later at a Likud Knesset faction meeting, Netanyahu tried to put a lid on such controversial steps as annexing parts of the West Bank and the settlement bill, saying that patience and level heads were needed, and that it was not the time for “dictates and headlines.

“This is not the time to shoot from the hip, this is not the time for surprises, this is the time for diplomacy between friends that will strengthen our ties,” Netanyahu insisted.

“Therefore for the good of our country and the settlement enterprise I suggest everyone put aside all other considerations and let me lead the policy.

“With cooler heads and patience we will lead our nation into a new era that will strengthen our security, our economy, our settlements and our diplomacy,” he said.

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